Wednesday, May 11, 2011
AALS Section of Constitutional Law Calls for Papers
The AALS Section of Constitutional Law will hold two panels at the AALS Annual Meeting, January 4-8, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
The section is inviting submission of abstracts for scholars who would like to be part of a panel on either of the issues set out below. Junior scholars, women, and faculty of color are especially invited to submit an abstract. Each abstract should be no more than five pages. One or more speakers at each panel will be selected from those submitting abstracts. Abstracts should be submitted (electronically, by Word or rtf document) by June 30, 2011 to Professor Garrett Epps, President, AALS Section of Constitutional Law University of Baltimore School of Law, 1415 Maryland Ave, Baltimore MD 21201 email: gepps AT ubalt.edu
PANEL ONE: American Citizenship in the 21st Century
American citizenship, whether acquired by birth or naturalization, has become intensely controversial in the past five years. Two provisions of the Constitution relate to it most directly: the requirement in Article II that the President must be a “natural born citizen” (coupled with varying requirements for length of citizenship for service in the House and Senate), and the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which recognizes birthright citizenship for “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” However, unlike in many contemporary constitutions, there is no complete constitutional definition of citizenship or description of its privileges, responsibilities, or qualities. Much of the process of its acquisition or recognition is governed by statutes passed under Congress’ authority “to establish an uniform rule of naturalization.” Congress and state legislatures are debating proposals to amend the Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate birthright citizenship or to seek to do the same thing by state or federal statute. Others insist that Congress lacks authority to vary the current rule, and that states have no role to play in regulating or determining citizenship. Many believe that this issue is sure to come before the federal courts in the near future. In the immigration context, proposals to provide a “path to citizenship” for undocumented aliens are seen by some as indispensable to comprehensive immigration reform, while others decry any measure to do this as “amnesty.” In either case, the presence of as many as 12 million undocumented aliens exerts a significant effect on the machinery designed to regulate immigration and citizenship, and may by default create in practical terms two tiers of citizenship, reviving the old common-law concept of the “denizen.” Beyond this, the nature of American citizenship is contested at the philosophical and political level, with arguments drawing on history, political theory, and comparative law and policy.
What does American citizenship mean today? How has its meaning changed over time? What is the future of the concept and the policy and legal apparatus that maintains it. Our first panel is open to participants who submit thought-provoking and original abstracts on any aspect of this issue, whether doctrinal, theoretical, economic, comparative, or empirical.
PANEL TWO: Article V: “To All Intents and Purposes”
Proposals to amend the Constitution have arisen in a variety of context in the last decade, quickening in pace as the ideological gulf within our society widens. Activists of both parties have repeatedly called for specific amendments to change certain features of the Constitution or overturn Supreme Court interpretations of its meaning. Others, both on the right and left, have begun to organize a serious effort to spark a call from Congress for a new Constitutional Convention to propose amendments. Article V, the mechanisms setting up the amendment process, is little understood and seldom taught as part of the Constitutional Law curriculum. Many political scientists and scholars criticize Article V as requiring too great a consensus for a proposed amendments. Others express concern that the Convention mechanism, which has never been used, could open the political system to sudden radical change without adequate democratic participation and public deliberation. Quite remarkably, the most recent Amendment actually adopted (in 1992) was proposed by the First Congress in 1789, and approved by legislatures over a 200-year window, leading to suggestions that the Article V mechanism has inadequate limits on its workings.
How does Article V really work? How has its practical function changed since Madison proposed the first Amendments (many of which were not adopted; the others of which became the Bill of Rights)? What light is shed on it by the fact that the Convention designed two features in the Constitution that could never be amended? What can we learn from the two periods—the aftermath of the Civil War and the Progressive Era—when political movements and popular majorities made effective use of Article V? What are the perils and promises of the Convention mechanism? What is the role of Congress in the process? How does popular constitutionalism play into the process? Is it time to use Article V to amend Article V? Again, the Section invites abstracts on any aspect of Article V, again from a wide variety of perspectives, and including descriptive, analytical and normative work.
Friday, April 22, 2011
2011 Elon Law Review Symposium Request for Proposals
“TERRORISM’S IMPACT ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE: HOW THE DETECTION, INVESTIGATION, AND PROSECUTION OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY HAS CHANGED SINCE 9/11”
Call for Articles, Essays, and Requests to Present
October 21, 2011
deadline for proposals: July 1, 2011
At Elon University School of Law, in Greensboro, NC, the law review has announced its symposium and is seeking proposals:
The editors of the Elon Law Review invite article proposals and requests to present from scholars, researchers, practitioners, and professionals on topics relating generally to changes in criminal law since 9/11. The goals of the symposium are: to analyze how the legal landscape has changed due to the increased dedication of policing resources to “the war on terror” and terrorism detection, and to examine the impact of resulting criminal legislation and political focus on terrorism in areas such as the civil rights of suspected terrorists and others, law enforcement tactics, new investigatory practices, and new issues impacting the prosecutorial function. Also, the symposium will look beyond terrorism and discuss the practical legal implications caused by the changes to the political landscape resulting from the 9/11 attacks. Desired substantive areas of interest include, but are not limited to: criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, civil rights, and legislation.
Please submit proposals of no more than 500 words by attachment to Symposium EditorScott Morgan at Bmorgan6@elon.edu by July 1st. All proposals should include the name, title, institutional affiliation, and contact information of the intended author/presenter, and should address matters relating to the legal implications of the 9/11 attacks and the governmental and judicial reaction to that event. Authors are welcome to submit a CV.
The Elon Law Review expects to make offers to speakers and authors by at least August 1st and will cover the participants’ expenses. Completed articles/essays will be due December 1, 2011 for publication in the Spring 2012 Symposium Edition of the Elon Law Review.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
RACE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE WEST
Gonzaga University School of Law
Friday-Saturday, September 23-24, 2011
Gonzaga University School of Law
The Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System
deadline for submission of proposals June 6, 2011
From the conference organizers: "This conference seeks to examine the topic of race and the criminal justice system in the Western states. Racial minorities continue to be overrepresented in our criminal justice system; yet too often concerns about the high arrest and incarceration rates are dismissed as simply the result of a high rate of criminality. This conference will explore the role of bias, both conscious and unconscious, to ask whether race still matters in our criminal justice system. While the emphasis will be on the West, we welcome papers and presentations focusing on other areas of the country, particularly ones that engage in comparative analyses."
Proposals must contain the following information:
Name, Address, Phone, and e-mail
Title of Presentation and whether the paper will be submitted for publication
A statement of up to 300 words explaining topic
The organizers welcome suggestions for full or partial panels. The deadline for submission of proposals is June 6, 2011. Please submit proposals via e-mail to Professor Jason Gillmer of Gonzaga Law. Those submitting can expect to receive a response by July 1, 2011. Final drafts of papers will be due October 24, 2011. Publication decisions for papers will be made by the Gonzaga Law Review.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
The Loyola Second Annual Constitutional Law Colloquium
October 21 & 22, 2011
The submission deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2011.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law is organizing the Second Annual Constitutional Law Colloquium at the Philip H. Corboy Law Center, 25 East Pearson Street, Chicago, IL 60611. The event will begin on Friday morning, October 21 and end midday on Saturday, October 22, 2011.
This is the second annual Loyola conference bringing together constitutional law scholars at all stages of their professional development to discuss current projects, doctrinal developments in constitutional law, and future goals. We hope to schedule presentations for all who submit. In this way, we will provide a forum for the vetting of ideas, invaluable opportunities for informed critiques, and networking opportunities. Presentations will be grouped by subject matter.
The organizers invite abstract submissions of 150 to 200 words from Constitutional Law professors interested in contributing to the current debates concerning constitutional theory and Supreme Court rulings. The goal of the conference is to allow professors to develop new ideas with the help of supportive colleagues on a wide range of constitutional law topics. Again, the submission deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2011.
Topics, abstracts, papers, questions, and comments should be submitted to: Program Administrator Carrie Bird, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note from the organizers: "Participants are expected to pay their own travel expenses. Loyola will provide facilities, support, and continental breakfasts on Friday and Saturday, lunch on Friday and Saturday, and a dinner on Friday night. There are numerous reasonably priced hotels within walking distance of the Loyola School of Law and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile."
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
There's an impressive group of participants, and the list is growing:
- Diane Orentlicher, Deputy, State Department Office for War Crimes Issues
- Vince Warren, ED, Center for Constitutional Rights
- Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organizations
- Gary Motsek, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Program Support
- Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council
- Joe Stork, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
- Shari Knoerzer, Social Responsibility and Community Development-Asia and Africa, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.
Aryeh Neier, President of the Open Society Foundations, will deliver the keynote, titled The Arab Revolutions, Human Rights and the Obama Administration, on Thursday, April 28, at 1:00 p.m.
Registration is free. For more information and registration, click here.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Cardozo School of Law's Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy is hosting a symposium on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, on Public Secrets: From the Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks. The program will run from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, Cardozo, 55 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street), New York. From the announcement:
This symposium will bring together panelists with experience in the situation room, the newsroom and the courtroom to explore the competing claims of national security and the public interest in the disclosure of confidential national security information. . . .
The framework for the discussion will be Cardozo Professor David Rudenstine's seminal work The Day the Presses Stopped, A History of the Pentagon Papers Case. Attendees will also hear excerpts of previously unreleased interviews with Robert McNamara, John Mitchell, William H. Rehnquist, and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.
The line-up is quite impressive:
- Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
- John B. Bellinger III, Arnold & Porter LLP
- Leslie Gelb, Council on Foreign Relations
- Adam Liptak, The New York Times
- The Honorable Michael Mukasey, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
- David Rudenstine, Cardozo Law School
- Steven R. Shapiro, ACLU
To attend, e-mail email@example.com, or call 212.790.0200 x6700.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The Loyola University Chicago Law Review is hosting a conference next Friday, April 8, titled Hate Speech, Incitement & Genocide.
The line-up is terrific, with panels on Developing the Structure of Genocide Law, Hate Speech and Genocide in Africa and the Middle East, and Free Speech and Equality in the Internet Age. The lunch-time speaker is Irwin Cotler, Professor Emeritus at McGill and former Attorney General and Member of the Canadian Parliament for Mount Royal.
The conference runs from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday, April 8, at the Philip H. Corboy Law Center, Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, 25 East Pearson Street, 10th Floor, Chicago. Get more information here; download a conference brochure here.
For advance registration and information, please contact Conference Editor Craig Beaker at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tel. 312.915.7183.
Monday, March 28, 2011
"We Must First Take Account" is a conference the end of this week at Michigan Law on Race, Law, and History.
“To get beyond racism, we must first take account of race,” is the well-remembered phrase from Justice Harry Blackmun’s opinion in the 1978 Bakke decision. Blackmun’s view may remain controversial in debates about constitutional jurisprudence. But for historians of law it is axiomatic. In the generation since Bakke, scholars have indeed taken account, mining legal culture’s archives to explain the origins and endurance of race. Today race is at the core of interpreting the history of law in the Americas. Understood as a set of ideas that
rely upon religion, culture, labor, biology, and politics, race has organized profound inequality and galvanized movements for social justice.
More information and the program is available here. A stellar line-up of speakers!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
A "mini-symposium" on April 7, 2011, starting at 3pm, will feature a lecture on "One State's Challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act" by Maura Healey, Chief, Civil Rights Division, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.
Healy (pictured right) will be speaking about Massachusetts' successful constitutional challenge to section 3 of DOMA; Judge Tauro found that section 3 "offends" the Tenth Amendment reasoning that marriage is a quintessential matter of state, and not federal, power.
Healy's talk will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Steve Sanders, and including:
- Thomas M. Fisher, Solicitor General, State of Indiana
- Dawn Johnsen, Walter W. Foskett Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
- Brian Powell, Rudy Professor of Sociology, Indiana University College of Arts & Sciences and co-author of Counted Out: Same-sex Relations and Americans' Definitions of the Family
- Deborah Widiss, Associate Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
More information about the event and its webcast available here.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment provides:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
For some, this provision is ambiguous, especially when it is applied to persons born in the United States of non-citizen parents who are not authorized to be within the nation's borders.
A fascinating discussion - - - styled as a debate - - - between John Eastman, of Chapman School of Law, and Ediberto Román, (pictured left) of Florida International University, illuminates the interpretations of this provision with reference to constitutional history and current controversies.
Eastman is the author of the paper Born in the USA: Rethinking Birthright Citizenship in the Wake of 9/11, based on his Congressional testimony contending that section one of the Fourteenth Amendment has been misconstrued as mandating birthright citizenship and that the clause was merely a"codification" of the 1866 Civil Rights Act.
Román is the author of the book Citizenship and its Exclusions: A Classical, Constitutional, and Critical Race Critique, which we discussed here.
The video and audio of the proceedings, part of a conference at FIU on Citizenship can be accessed over at Nuestras Voces Latinas here.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The Drake Law School Constitutional Law Center recently announced its 2011 Symposium, "Debating the Living Constitution." The Symposium is Saturday, April 2, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Drake; more information, including a registration form, is here. Here's the line-up:
- The Honorable Robert W. Pratt, U.S. District Court Judge, Southern District of Iowa
- Miguel Schor, Visiting Professor of Law and Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center, 2010-2011
- Do We Have a Living Constitution?, David Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School
- Assisted Living, Rebecca Brown, Newton Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Southern California School of Law
- The Problem of Article V for Constitutional Theory, Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University
- Democracy and the Living Tree Constitution, Wil Waluchow, Senator William McMaster Chair in Constitutional Studies, McMaster University.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The keynote lecture Friday evening at this year's conference of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities was Anatomies of Torture: CIA Black Sites and Redacted Bodies, delivered by Joseph Pugliese (pictured) of Macquarie University in Australia.
In his examination of the so-called "black sites," secret prisons located outside U.S. jurisdiction in which a range of state-sanctioned practices of torture have transpired, Pugliese focused on the death of a young Afghan man, Gul Rahman, who died on 20 November 2002, in the CIA black site prison known as the Salt Pit, located in northern Kabul, Afghanistan. While Rahman's body has never been recovered, Pugliese argues that Rahman is nominally buried within the Classified Response to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility Classified Report Dated July 29, 2009. This document, prepared by Counsel for Judge Jay S. Bybee, is a detailed repost to the accusation made by the Office of Professional Resposibility (OPR) that Bybee committed professional misconduct in light of Bybee’s memo (August 1, 2002) to Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, which authorised some forms of torture.
Yet portions of the memos are redacted. Pugliese displayed the memos and examined the legal process that edits and censors a document of any secret or sensitive information through the application of a black marker over designated text. In the context of the CIA "black sites" and the Salt Pit in particular, Pugliese argues that the process of redaction must be seen as producing its own discursive black sites of silence, loss and death.
Pugliese's presentation was spell-binding and an excellent capstone to a conference in which the critical tools of humanities scholars and legal scholars were so often combined.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
For a Conference in Milan, Italy on December 1-2, 2011, with proposals due April 24, 2011.
In virtually every nation, assertions of the need for secrecy on matters of counterterrorism policy and practice have created tensions with efforts to ensure transparency, accountability and procedural fairness. The conference is open to proposals that seek to bring comparative analysis to bear on how best to mediate these tensions, including:
- the challenge of secrecy to democratic lawmaking on counterterrorism policy;
- the use of “secrecy” privileges to block litigation challenging allegedly illegal government
- the use of classified evidence against individuals or organizations to freeze their assets, designate them as terrorist, or justify other restraints on their liberty;
- the use of “anonymous” witnesses who testify without revealing their identity;
- the closure of criminal trials and other proceedings to the public;
- and the adoption of secret coercive programs without transparent legal justification, such as the US’s coercive interrogation practices or targeted killing program.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Journal has held an online forum on Professor Libby Adler’s piece (available on the forum) entitled “Gay Rights and Lefts: Rights Critique and Distributive Analysis for Real Law Reform."
Adler, author of The Gay Agenda, here argues for a "critical approach to law reform agenda setting," with a methodology that
rests on a distinction between reconstruction and decisionism. Decisionism, according to my usage, consists of making difficult choices about which law reform initiatives to undertake based on broadly informed distributional hypotheses and cost-benefit calculations and then acting on the best information one can get with the best judgment one can muster, always prepared to bear the costs of one’s choices. Each law reform achievement, should it materialize, rather than being a step along a path in the direction of a lodestar such as formal equality, will—one hopes—effectuate a positive distributive impact for marginalized persons while imposing bearable costs. As a theoretic matter, the achievement is likely to be generalizable only to a limited extent, if at all. In other words, it will not necessarily further any overarching theoretic objective
Twelve invited commentators respond to Libby Adler's advocation of “decisionism" including Angela Harris, Art Leonard, Aziza Ahmad, Francisco Valdes, Katherine Franke, Nancy Polikoff, Darren Rosenblum, Sarah Valentine, and Anthony Varona.
Adler's piece and the comments demonstrate that the problem of "rights" in constitutional law remain a persistent issue, as well as the problems of "equality" and "identity."
This forum could be an excellent basis for discussion in a constitutional law seminar or a jurisprudence class.
A "live" Colloquium will be held on March 9, 2011 at 5-7p.m. at Harvard Law School in Austin North.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Here are a few that you might not want to miss.
Food Fight, March 1, 6.30 pm, organized by the law review at City University of New York School of Law, raising First Amendment issues such as "veggie libel laws" and campaign finance.
Rehabiliating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform, March 1 [and subsequent dates] sponsored by The Federalist Society. David Bernsetin will be speaking about his forthcoming book at various venues throughout the month.
Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice, March 3, 5.30 pm, organized by the Faculty of Law at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, delivered by Ruthann Robson.
Citizens United and Corporate Speech, March 4, 8.30 am, hosted by The John Marshall Law Review and Steven Schwinn at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, featuring a keynote by Thomas E. Mann of the Brookings Institute and panelists such as Geoffrey Stone, Atiba Ellis, and Monica Youn, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
Writing a Brandeis Biography, March 7, 3pm, at the Oklahoma University College of Law, by Melvin Urofsky, author of notable biography of Justice Louis Brandeis. Urlovsky will also speak at a Faculty Colloquim at noon on "“Dissent As Form of Constitutional Dialogue."
Justice Clarence Thomas: 20 Years, March 11, 9.30am, at the Detroit Athletic Club, hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy Law Review. The morning panel is devoted to individual liberties and the afternoon panel focuses on governmental powers.
Moral Imagination in Judging, March 11, noon, at Washburn University School of Law, by Susan Bandes (pictured right) delivering the annual Foulstein Siefkin Lecture, organized by the Washburn Law Journal.
Boundaries and Enemies, 2011 Conference of The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, March 11 - 12, at University of Nevada, Las Vegas – William S. Boyd School of Law, organized by the association. Two packed days of panels and events.
Official Wrongdoing and the Civil Liability of the Federal Government and Officers, March 18, 9am, organized by the law journal at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis. The afternoon panel is entitled "Constitutional Claims: Bivens Suits."
Perspectives on Prerogative, March 24-26, The LeFrak Forum and the Symposium on Science, Reason, & Modern Democracy, Department of Political Science, Michigan State University, will "examine an especially troubling form of executive power: "prerogative" or "extra-legal" or "extra-constitutional" power."
Other events for which there is some information include two at Chapman University School of Law: Randy Barnett on March 8 discussing the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Eugene Volokh on March 16 on "The Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope," and at Loyola Law School- New Orleans, on March 11 at noon, Calvin Johnson and Steven Willis on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, moderated by Cynthia Lepow.
and in April .......
Constitutional Law Symposium: Debating the Living Constitution, April 2, 8.30 am - 12.30 pm, organized by the Center for Constitutional Law at Drake University College of Law, Iowa, featuring speakers such as Rebecca Brown of USC School of Law.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Actor, playwright, and Con Law Prof Paul Baier (LSU) will take his play "Father Chief Justice" Edward Douglass White and the Constitution to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (He previously staged it, to great acclaim, at the AALS Annual Conference.)
Here are the details:
"Father Chief Justice" Edward Douglass White and the Constitution
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Coolidge Auditorium, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington, DC
RSVP email@example.com or call Tynesha Adams at 202.707.5065
Check out the announcement for more information and a list of cast members (notable, all).
Monday, February 7, 2011
The Campbell Law Review will host its 2011 symposium on May 18, 2011. Here's the announcement:
The Campbell Law Review presents its annual 2011 symposium:
Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Christianity: Perspectives on the Influence of Christianity on Classical Liberal Legal Thought
The conference will consider the relationship between liberalism and Christianity and their influence on American constitutionalism. The conference will investigate the extent to which classical liberalism and Christianity influenced the formulation of the Constitution and the thought of the Founding era. It will focus on the importance of the foundational Christian commitments to characteristic notions of religious toleration and freedom of association as they are borne out in the thought of the Founders and the founding era.
The conference will be hosted on May 18, 2011, at Campbell University School of Law, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The following presenters will be featured:
Professor Robert F. Cochran, Director of the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute of Law, Religion, and Ethics and the Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, Professor John M. Breen, Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Professor Bruce P. Frohnen, Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law; Professor Michael Scaperlanda, University of Oklahoma College of Law; Professor Barry Shain, Colgate University; Professor John Inazu, Visiting Professor, Duke University School of Law; Professor Anthony Baker, Visiting Professor, John Marshall Law School; Professor C. Scott Pryor, Visiting Professor, Campbell University School of Law; Dean Donald R. McConnell, Trinity Law School.
All are invited. Attendees may find more details and register here.
Monday, January 31, 2011
There is a growing movement for a right to an attorney in civil cases, sometimes known as a civil Gideon, coupled with increased funding for civil legal services and legal aid. We've discussed the right to counsel in civil litigation here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Judge Jonathan Lippman has recently written in the NY Law Journal that:
At best, only 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income New Yorkers are being met today. Providers have no choice but to turn away vast numbers of eligible clients, including eight out of every nine in New York City.
One result of this deepening crisis is that the courts are seeing an ever-expanding number of unrepresented litigants. We heard testimony from judges, clients, lawyers and others about what happens when litigants try to navigate the courts without counsel.
Befitting his role as chief judge of New York's highest court, Lippman is not making any constitutional arguments. Instead, he posits that there is a "moral and ethical obligation" as well as making efficiency and effectiveness claims. He suggests that
the state begin to reduce the unmet civil legal services needs in those matters that concern the "essentials of life": a roof over one's head, family stability, personal safety free from domestic violence, access to health care and education, or subsistence income and benefits.
This is the recommendation in the Report issued by The Task Force to Expand Legal Services in New York; Judge Lippman presided over the hearings held throughout the state. A New York Times Editorial essentially endorsed the Task Force's recommendation.
Lippman will be speaking at City University of New York School of Law on Thursday, February 3, about the right to an attorney in civil cases.
Admission is free
RSVP required: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: Discussion of event in New York Law Journal, February 7, 2011.